The Provisionals - E Is Rooks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Provisionals

E Is Rooks (2009)


If embracing independent music culture has given me anything, it is the joy and frustrations of genre classification. Sure, some think the idea of genres is restrictive and reductive, but it cannot be argued that it has given generations of music zealots one more thing to argue about, and for that alone the practice should be praised.

Some bands elude classification because they are so incredibly new, so amazingly cutting-edge and dangerous that no other sound before them has accurately mirrored their production. And then there are bands like the Provisionals, whose album E Is Rooks is so bland and unoffensive that it hardly seems worth the time to classify them.

The Provisionals are a four-piece band from San Fransico who I will have to classify as an alternative rock / indie rock band, a genre as ambiguous and unspecific as the band's music. E Is Rook is available for free download via the band's MySpace page. The sound kind of like the Walkmen (who are one of their top friends on the social networking site) but one could just as easily compare them to Death Cab for Cutie, Interpol, Spoon, Clinic or any other indie rock band from the early to mid-aughts with equal accuracy.

Now, I am not in the habit of bashing bands that are willing to give away their music for free. In my mind, these artists are pioneers and heroes. They deserve all of our respect. For that alone, these guys should get props.

That being said, I am not sure I would want to pay money for E Is Rooks. This is not a bad album by any means, just an unremarkable one: pleasant to a fault, offensively friendly and almost devoid of noticeable personalty.

There are three types of bands: Those that bring something to the table; those that take something off the table; and those that simply sit. You can guess where the Provisionals fall in this scale. Not that there is anything wrong with simply sitting, but in the competitive world of digital music, more standing out needs to be done.